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Archive for November, 2011

The recent release of Jeffrey Eugenide’s The Marriage Plot (2011) has us both thinking about literary love, old-fashioned romance and the way smart, current authors are crafting stories about this timeless topic.  Luckily, we’ve both just read ones we enjoyed and are thrilled to recommend these titles. Good for curling up with after the turkey’s put away. ~ The Book Jam

I just read and LOVED I Married You for Happiness (2011) by Lily Tuck. When I picked it up I was intrigued by the idea of a tale narrated by a woman spending the night holding the hand of her recently dead husband.  Once I started reading, I LOVED the beautiful prose and the compelling characters.  The plot –  which reviews the choices each partner makes from the moment of meeting 43 years earlier to the instant the male dies – kept me engaged.  I’m jealous of those reading this for the first time. As a bonus, after finishing this delightful novel, I then realized I had also read and enjoyed the author’s National Book Award winner – The News from Paraguay, another love story of sorts. -Lisa Christie

This charming and original first novel is filled with the voices of young immigrants  Vaclav & Lena (2011), both new to the borrough of Brooklyn and to the challenges of friendship. The reader meets them as ten-year-olds and recently arrived from Russia. Smart Vaclav dreams of magic and of being as famous as David Copperfield while living in his family’s small apartment that always smells of borscht and is filled with the sounds of his father’s Russian TV shows . Lena, his “beautiful assistant,” struggles to overcome a difficult domestic situation, to finish her American homework and to fit in with the popular set at school. For a while it is their friendship with each other that rescues them from the loneliness of their lives as outsiders. Then, Lena mysteriously disappers and the story resumes seven years later when Vaclav & Lena unexpectedly reunite. We fall in love with these strong, kind characters who create magic in unexpected ways and find love in unusual places. I strongly recommend this book. -Lisa Cadow

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